Govt Plans to Scrap UGC – Drafts for a Higher Education Commission

In one of the biggest move towards reforming higher education in India, the central government today announced a complete overhaul of the higher education regulator, University Grants Commission (UGC).

Official sources confirmed, “the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry has prepared a draft Act to replace the University Grants Commission with a new regulator for higher education in the country”.

Stopping short of setting up a single higher education regulator subsuming all regulatory bodies as was envisaged earlier, the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry has decided to revamp UGC and its parent legislation completely so that the HERC focusses on setting up academic standards and ensure their implementation rather than invest its energies on grant giving.

The central government wants to bring a fresh legislation to set up the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI).

Thus, the HECI Act is expected to be piloted in Parliament in the upcoming monsoon session.

The Act will be called the Higher Education Commission of India Act, 2018 (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act).

The commission will also lay down norms for performance-based incentives for faculty and also specify norms for admission and fees.

According to the ministry of human resource development (MHRD), it is all set to upload the draft of the Act which provides for establishing the HECI repealing the UGC Act, 1956 on its website on Wednesday evening inviting feedback from the public.

Unlike UGC, HECI will not have grant functions and would focus only on academic matters. The ministry will deal with the grant functions.

The idea is to downsize the scope of regulation with “no interference in the management issues of the educational institutions,” according to a senior government official.

The Commission will, apart from the chairperson and vice-chairperson, will have 12 other members appointed by the Central Government. The members would include secretaries of higher education, the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship and department of science and technology, chairpersons of AICTE and NCTE and two serving vice chancellors, among others.

The government source said, “Educationists, stakeholders and others can furnish their comments and suggestions by July 7, 2018, until 5 pm.”

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